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People Gather To Protest Hatem Bridge Toll Increase

CECIL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — With a hike in bridge tolls looming, people who depend on the Hatem Bridge are vowing a fight to stop tolls from going up in their community.

Alex DeMetrick was in Cecil County for the first “no new tolls” protest.

Not everyone pays the same amount to cross the Susquehana on the Hatem Bridge.  For the occasional user on this stretch of Route 40, it’s $5.  For locals, $10 buys a decal good for a year.  That may be about to change with a proposed toll increase.

“When it only costs you $10 for a year and it’s going up to $90, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” said resident Lillian Simmons.

Neither do others gathered along Route 40 in Perryville.

“Seeing about stopping such an increase on this toll here,” said James Hansen.

It’s an increase that will eventually do away with decals and replace them with EZ-Pass transmitters for an additional cost.  You can beat the toll between Perryville and Havre de Grace, but it’s a bit of a haul.

“You can cross the Conowingo Dam,” said Anna Cifaldo.  “You don’t want all the extra mileage.”

Toll hikes have been proposed for most of Maryland’s bridges, but there are those who depend on them to link families and businesses, not just commuting.

“We live in the rural parts of the state and are not going to be discriminated against [with all these toll hikes],” said Senator E.J. Pipkin.

“If they don’t back down on this, we’re going to be filing suit against the state of Maryland for what they’re doing,” said Senator Nancy Jacobs.

Anger at the proposed toll increases is likely to be a common feature at a series of public hearings being held this summer around the state.

More from Alex DeMetrick
  • D Mowl

    The amount of money the state would receive from the toll increases is minor compared to what it is going to make from the fines when they switch from decals to transponders. I found this out the hard way a year ago when I received a toll fine of $9,000.00. MTA was unable to debit my son’s account one time and did not notify us to the fact. We finally received a notice 13 months after the fact and had received 8,800 in fines. We were able to get the fine reduced to 3,400.00 through constant fights with the department. They had admitted in writing that they had only sent 3 notices in that 13 month time period which we did not receive as other who have had the same problems attested to. It is the responsibility of the patron to make sure that your account is always in good standing, but oversights and mistakes can and will happen. IMTA will not notify you if a mistake does occur until after the fines have increased to an outrageous amount. And your appeal is heard by their department and not a third party. So just imagine the money they will rob from people on that end.

  • williejoe

    Hatem bridge? I hate all toll bridges.

  • KottaMan

    One way the Transportation Authority could save money is to scuttle their compulsion and plans to get rid of the State Police on the JFK Highway all the way to the Delaware border and put its police up there. Also, why do I see a MdTA Officer working radar clear back on Route 50 in (yes, I said IN) Annapolis? What’s the deal with that? And while we’re at it, both the MdTA PD and MSP can save money every time they buy police cars by NOT ordering full wheel covers. That’s a waste of taxpayer money times hundreds of cars bought at a time.

    • BBD

      Its a total waste of money with the state police on the JFK Highway.

  • BBD

    I got my tag bent up on my Suzuki Hayabusa, I’ll just run the toll in the ezpass lane, what are they going to get, a picture of the back of my bike!!!!
    Catch me if you can!

    • What Is Fair?

      While I feel that your attitude is pathetic, and sure to cause additional problems for yourself in the future, I do have a concern about the rates paid by motorcyclists.

      As I understand it, motorcycles pay the same toll rate as a 10,000 ib truck with 2 axles.

      Ever feel as though they are bending you over the bike and sticking it up your exhaust pipe?

      It would seem as though one dollar would be more appropriate for a 400lb vehicle.

      Anyone else see the unfairness of this?

      • BBD

        You ever been on a busa, you should try it sometime. There are thousands and thousands of sport bikes out there, next time you see them, look for the license plate, I am sure you can’t see it on most of them.
        Please define problems for myself??

    • Jonathan Chiles

      The camera’s are fast enough to catch you BBD, so when you go flying thru the ez-pass and cause an accident from being an idiot. Don’t think I will have pity on you.

      Idiots like you, who think just because they can go fast on a bike and try to get away from the law make the rest of us responsible motor cycle riders look bad.
      And if you do cause an accident from being an idiot on the bridge, I will be the first person to throw your punk ass off the bridge.

      • BBD

        What ever, thoes cameras only will get the tail end or my bike, they can’t see the tag. Are you one ot them toll cops? I’ve been riding for years and never had a problem! Have a nice day!!!

  • Billy Yesko

    I blame state government and their greed. Seriously, people… It’s no longer about “Democrats will do this”, or “Republicans will do that”… It’s obvious that neither side cares AT ALL about the common American. I suggest everyone grow a brain and vote for one of the lesser-known independent candidates in the next election. As for me, I think that these tolls are outrageous anyway. If you don’t wanna pay the higher toll price, then don’t pay the higher toll price. Who’s ACTUALLY gonna make you pay it? If EVERYONE refuses to pay the higher rate, they can’t enforce it.


    Just a thought. :)

    • overtaxed

      In Maryland it IS about what DEMOCRATS do, it is a 1 party state, and that party is running us into the ground

    • Are You For Real?

      “Vote for one of the lesser known candidates in the next election”.

      The media controls public opinion. We all vote for the candidates that appear to offer the best future for ourselves, based on his/her promises made at election time.

      What MD needs, is a system that forces elected candidates to fulfill their promises to the voting public.

      There is very little accountability in politics. What little wrong-doing that does get publicized, is often for the purpose of ruining a politician that is “not a team player”. Imagine how long Abraham Lincoln would last in today’s government. I personally doubt that he would have made into the theater.

      We are a country , where change is made by those who benefit most from those changes. This cannot and does not work.

      It is such a shame that the people no longer have the power to make changes that benefit them most. Such as…electing candidates to office with a “performance clause”. They remain in office as long as they are performing as they said they would. If not…they are out, and their opponent (with the next highest vote count) takes over. This would have all politicians “competing” to serve the public, and would be a far cry better than the mess we have endured thus far.

      What fools we have been, to allow ourselves to become servants of our government.

      • Bi-Partisan

        While I agree that the government often does what it wants, performance-based elections would not solve the problem. Let’s use the bridge issue as an example- You vote for the candidate who promises no new tolls, because the ohter guy has said we need the tolls to pay for thus-and-such.

        So your candidate wins. He works his butt off to single-handedly keep the tolls from happening, but in the end the other party wins out. Do you then remove him and put in the guy you completely disagreed with?

        I worked with an election last year and it taught me a few things about how it works, and how much each politician is up against and how hard they have to bargain in order to get /anything/ done. As I said before, I agree that government by and large have forgotten they aren’t supposed to be self-serving, but I also know there are some who work hard to serve others, and still don’t make it.

        Get out there and find out more about the candidates before you vote. Make an educated decision, and then get involved throughout the year. Communicate with your senator or representative. That’s the only way they know if something is/isn’t working as planned.

      • overtaxed

        Media such as WJZ has a very clear slant and the sheeple follow

  • TQ

    The whole reason we don’t have any money in the transportation dept is because the state keeps dipping into the funds to use for everything else they feel like spending money on. So who’s to say that when they raise this money that they supposedly need so bad that the state is not gonna use those funds for whatever it sees fit also. Are they just gonna raise them again? When does it end? We are one of the richest states in this country and the state just keeps taking more and more from us. I don’t have much more to give and neither to most of the other residents of this state!!!

    • candace

      This is absolutely incorrect. The MDTA is a self funded agency and neither contributes money to or receives money from the general fund of MD. The MDTA is funded solely on toll revenue as well as toll and tolled roadway violations. The monies that are taken in from the toll increase will go directly to the MDTA and help fund restoration and maintenance projects for bridges, tunnels, and their respective approach roadways, as well as other tolled roadways in MD (ICC, I95 ETL lanes, and JFK Hwy). If you would like these facilities to remain safe for travel there is a price. The tolls on most of these roadways have not been consistently increased to accommodate inflation costs as well as the maintenance costs due to the rise in traffic over the years. For example, the Bay Bridge toll has not been raised since 1974. There has been a considerable rise in materials cost since the last toll increase and the additional funds that will be received due to this proposed increase will help offset this.
      The proposed toll increase is not a government conspiracy to squash the working man; it is a necessary evil to keep our tolled roadways in good condition.

      • overtaxed

        I just looked at the Transportation Fund website, and a source of funding for the Transportaion fund includes “use fees”. Use fees would be tolls, right? So, when O’Malley and the other DEMOCRAT thieves in Annapolis stole money out of the Transportation fundand put into the General Fund, some amount of toll money was in that fund. The website also says that use fees will no longer go to the Transportation fund as of 7-1-11, but the money has already been stolen by O’Malley.

        Candace, if the funds have not been misappropriated (STOLEN), then why the need for a doubling or tripling of tolls? Where has all of the money gone? The radical increase is due to funds being raided and the work not done with the funds that disappeared.

        Fro the liberally impaired, yes the toll rates have been constant for many years, but the base has increased, more traffic to pay more toll money, so saying the toll rates has not been increased is not the whole truth, the total funds generated has increased since 1974. Increase the tax base, not the tax rate.

        Your correctness is far from absolute.

        We have to face facts…the Culture of Corruption has run us into the ground. Voting democrat consistently in this State has created this Culture, because they do not have to answer to anyone, not even the voters.

        Wake up, Maryland!

      • williejoe

        Candace, Give a complete breakdown on revenues received vs monies paid out in maintenance. Salaried employees are not paid from that fund so please get real time updates instead of the blah, blah. The transportation fund & the MDTA are cleverly robbed by the treasury, Governor on a yearly basis.

  • Kimberly Blackwell

    its all about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer i mean i live in pasadena my mom n sons live in baltimore county it takes me 40.00 to get there and back with the gas prices so high and wen i do get bak im below empty thats not included in the tolls this is crazy its getting as bad as the depression i mean wen i do go to my moms the mdta or mta watever the black n yellow cars have people pulled over all down i think its north point blvd and then on this side they pull people over all the way down ft smallwood rd y’s that i agree w/billy boycott the bridges or watever and they cant make u pay!!!

  • Bob

    It cost more to commute from Cecil County to Baltimore and back than it does to go from Baltimore to Key West Fla. Cecil County is the only place you have to pay to get in AND out of. As a resident, I don’t see what makes us so special . And to top it all off, now that the casino is across the bridge, let’s just kill the revenue by jacking up the tolls. Short sighted state will step over a dollar to pick up a dime……what an embarrassment.

  • williejoe

    I want to be shown where the tolls are needed & why? Just saying we need to raise them to be in line with other states is completely unacceptable & obviously no thought or accountability has been given to the public. Give the taxpayer of this state which ranks 4th nationally in spending over all other states by 11.2% increase as opposed to last year. This is crazy & has to stop. I want o see a complete breakdown of where the monies come from & where they have gone. There has been too much raiding of funds in the treasury to rob Peter & pay Paul. This has to stop or we will have a revolution or someone will snap & shoot somebody high up in frustration.

  • Fast Forward 3 Years

    My goodness….I must be psychic.. I just got an amazingly clear picture, regarding the outcome of the Toll increase issue.

    Much bickering, and fighting occurred in the months after the proposed toll hike.

    A few small concessions were “won” by protesters, and the increase was imposed in “steps” over a period of years.

    In the end, commuters were paying the full amount of increase; with new and subsequent increases on the horizon.

    (Switching my focus to the Maryland Lottery now…)

    • Whoops

      Ooops! I just reported instead of replying! Sorry! DISREGARD, MODERATORS!

      …I was just going to say it sounded like Gas and Electric hikes all over again.

  • Charles

    Leave Maryland and drive toll free to Fort Myers Florida. Think about it.

  • CJ


    • Trying to keep head above water

      It’s not that we don’t like the tolls. It’s that it will be not doubling, not tripling, but going from… what was it?

      “When it only costs you $10 for a year and it’s going up to $90, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” said resident Lillian Simmons.

      If your life required you to cross that bridge daily, you’d be up in arms over the hike, too. And don’t say “Oh just move and get over it”. There’s a recession on, whatever they say about it being over. If you have a house, stick with it, because if you try to find another one you’ll never be able to make rent on it.

      So yeah, it’s not a hike. It’s the exorbitant hike and the discontinuing of the decal system that has me upset. Between the gas pumps gobbling up my money (even with a high-mileage little car), the bank now charging me for my accounts, and the various fees and taxes I’m already paying, adding a lack of decal is enough to run me into the ground.

    • Robert Long

      How about you face the fact that the only. THE ONLY! reason toll’s are going up is because Stupid O’Mally built a 2.3 billion dollar ICC that no one uses!. Because he figured he would charge people out the butt to save a few mins here and there. But it didnt work. No one use’s it. So because the budget for the MTA is dead right now. They are trying to bail them selves out any way they can. And Huge toll hikes is the only way to do it!. So wake up people. Its not about whats needed. It’s about saving face and keeping him from not being able to fix there budget and having to answer for it!. So he will bend every last one of us over for every single thing he can find to make us bail him out!

      • Jonathan Chiles

        As much as I hate O’Mally, I am going to have to disagree with you. Robert Ehrlich was the first to push for the ICC when he was in office. Not O’Mally. Additionally the majority of the ICC doesn’t open up until close to 2012. To say no one uses it is not true as it doesn’t connect to I-95 yet.
        The ICC itself if a toll road and charges by the mile, with a 2 mile min. Additionally the Transportation Authority said it would adjust the rate as the road gets more traffic. Basically – More traffic = higher rate, because they said it would be the first road with no congestion. If you ever drove on the Beltway from I-95 to 270, you would see the need. Yes it was probably a pet project for Montgomery county, but there is a use for it, and it will bring revenue in to pay for itself.

        On another point – I think the basic fact that everyone is missing is, raising toll rates will not necessarily correspond with increased revenue. Remember supply verses demand and finding the equilibrium? Well the same goes for toll roads. If you increase the rate to high, you get less traffic which in turn lowers the amount of money you will receive. Potentially, you could make more money at a lower rate by having increased volume.

  • Robert Long

    I am so sick of this state. O mally the most… Him and his team of idiot’s are turning this state into the poor house. He needs to be ripped out of office and i mean fast!. Every single time he was voted for he had so many things he was suppose to do. But instead he turns this state into tax everything state. its time he leaves office now!. Everyone needs to get together and start a recall petition and pull him from office!

  • Kathleen N.

    Highway robbery! Hey O’Malley ~ cigarette tax, gas tax, bridge & tunnel tax, property tax, sales tax – you’re raising them all! We don’t have any $$ left! You also threw the public school system employees under the bus. Shame on you! O’Malley, Obama, Oh NO!

  • Dave

    You keep voting democrats in this is what you get

  • pigeon

    The state people are just too much. Sure, go ahead and put in a gambling facility in Perryville. Ha Ha! Got them this time. Okay peoples – now we are really going to “stick it to you” and increase your cost to go there. Owemalley scores again!

  • andy

    Why does everyone call O’Malley a big prick. In reality he has a little Johnson.

  • Laurel

    Land of the free – just don’t take the highway……

  • ed

    Somebody please, blow the f…….k’g bridge up.

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